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Ready to survive cancer

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By Tiffany Rice Spratt

Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought I would be diagnosed with cancer.
How could this happen to me?
As a woman, being told I had rectal cancer was very embarrassing, and let’s face it, none of us like to talk about that part of our bodies. Suddenly, reality set in and I felt as though that I had been punched in the stomach, and I was forced to confront my situation head on.
Reflecting on my cancer journey has been and continues to be an eye opening experience. Through this experience, I have not asked “Why me?” or “What if?” 
Instead, I have embraced the road ahead, laced up my boots for the journey up the mountain, and chose to move forward during this difficult time in my life.
As I fight for my life, it’s hard to see myself as a survivor at this point. I’m still fighting the battle so I have defined my life right now as simply, surviving. After sitting back and thinking on these words, I decided that I should look up the definition of “survivor” and “surviving” in order to better grasp what these terms really mean. 
Survivor – A person that survives despite adversity.
Surviving – Still in existence.
Wow. My Lord expects much more from me than to just be “in existence.” That’s when the light bulb went off in my mind. I am a survivor.
Despite adversity, I know that there is a larger purpose for my life and God is revealing himself to me and my family day by day. For this, I am thankful because my bout with cancer has opened my heart and soul to a life I did not fully appreciate.
Because of the nature of this disease, my physical body has been altered and forever changed. I continue to deal with physical pain and side effects of medications. Some days I have just enough energy to sit in a chair. I am in a constant battle dealing with these issues.
I have also opened myself up to opportunities that would take my mind in other directions – away from this disease that has invaded my body.
One of my most enjoyable activities is coaching softball. For one, I promised our daughter I would coach. Secondly, it helps make me feel normal. Yes there are days that it is very difficult to keep this promise. There are days I wear my chemo pack around my waist and walk out onto the softball field to give it everything I have and end up going home completely exhausted. 
However, I am appreciative that God gave me the energy and endurance to fulfill my promise. These girls give me joy and a purpose and I’m grateful for them and all of the coaches who have encouraged, supported and are co-coaching with me. It’s my slice of normalcy in this crazy journey I am on.
It has been nine months since I heard my doctor say, “Tif, you have cancer.” For those who have just recently heard those words, I can only say there is no “right way” for you to feel. 
As I continue my journey, I often remind myself that I have cancer, but it does not have me. For me, this phrase continues to be empowering. But everyone’s journey is different. You must find your own peace. I have found my peace in my faith. I have grabbed the hand of my Lord and have asked him to walk this path together with me. 
It is becoming more evident to me every day just how precious life truly is. Because I have been blessed to see the sunrise another day I want to be a person who is considered kind and one who makes others feel special. We all must remember that after we leave this earth, we probably won’t be remembered for what we say, but we definitely will be remembered for how we made others feel. Meanwhile, I continue to thank God for bringing me this far. 
Yes, I am a survivor.
Tiffany Rice Spratt